Outdoor Heaters for Restaurants: Our Top Picks

Outdoor dining is a great way for restaurants to increase their space and revenue. This, of course, is easy to do during the warmer seasons. However, you don’t have to close up your outdoor dining space when it starts getting chilly. Instead, invest in some outdoor heaters for restaurants, and keep your diners warm and cozy.

Benefits of Optimal Outdoor Heaters for Businesses

Outdoor dining is not just about the ambiance; it’s about providing a comfortable environment for your customers, even in colder months. When businesses can seamlessly extend their operations outdoors, they tap into a wider audience, allowing more people to enjoy their services throughout the year. Using the right outdoor heaters is a game-changer, and here’s why:

Consistent Customer Flow: Ensuring that your diners are warm and comfortable means they’re more likely to stay longer, order more, and return in the future.
Versatility: The best heaters are designed to be functional in various setups. Whether you have a sprawling patio or a compact alfresco dining space, there’s a heater that’s just right.
Safety: Business-grade heaters are built with safety in mind, ensuring that while they keep your patrons warm, they don’t pose any threats.

Features to Consider:

Fuel Type: There are primarily three types – electric, propane, and natural gas. Your choice will depend on your setup and the availability of fuel sources.
Coverage Area: Heaters come with varied coverage areas. Map out your space to ensure you choose a unit that can heat the entire area adequately.
Adjustable Heat Settings: Being able to regulate the temperature ensures comfort for all and energy efficiency.
Weather Resistance: Look for heaters that are durable and can withstand varying weather conditions.

Outdoor Heaters for Restaurants: Great Picks From Amazon

Feature/AspectTop Pick: Calcana Patio HeaterRunner Up: Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared HeaterBest Value: Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater

ConstructionStainless steelStainless SteelStainless Steel

BTU Output20,000 to 40,000 BTU/hr21,300 to 38,500 BTU/hr46,000 BTU/hr

Coverage Area12′ x 12′ area mounted 8 to 12 foot highHeats up to 15 feet in front9-foot radius

Ignition SystemStandardElectronic ignitionPiezo ignition system

Fuel Consumption & TypeNatural gas or propanePropanePropane

Installation & PortabilityBracket system for ceiling or wall mountingTwo rolling wheelsTwo heavy-duty wheels

Special FeaturesInfrared system, no open flames, works at high altitudesSafety feature for flameout or over-tiltingSafety auto shut-off tilt valve, water box for stability

Dimensions (L x W x H)Not mentioned27.6 x 19.2 x 85.2 inches33 x 18 x 89 inches

Weight75 lbs22 lbs35.9 lbs

Calcana Patio Heater

Top Pick: Calcana produces one of the best outdoor patio heaters in the market. Made in the U.S.A, this heater has high-quality heavy-duty stainless-steel construction. The infrared heating system delivers 20,000 to 40,000 BTU per hour.

The bracket installation system allows for ceiling or wall mounting options to direct heat where you need it. You can get 28,000 – 40,000 BTU in a 12′ x 12′ area mounted 8 to 12 foot high.

This is the only gas heater that has temperature control without open flames or glowing red parts. This allows it to work at high altitudes without being affected by wind, this heater can be installed anywhere outdoors. The fuel consumption is just as impressive, as it uses 40% less fuel to save you gas.

The five-foot heater weighs 75lbs. and you can choose between natural gas and propane.

CALCANA Natural Gas Outdoor Patio Heater

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Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Heater

Runner Up: The Bromic Heating portable directional radiant infrared heater is a stylish unit with 38500 BTU. It uses electronic ignition to quickly light the heater and it can heat people up to 15 feet in front of the heater.

Two rolling wheels let you move the heater around and you can adjust the heat from 21, 300 to 38, 500 BTU per hour. The unit can hold either a 20 pound or 30-pound tank and it will continue working in wind up to 7. 5 miles per hour. There is also a safety feature that shuts off the gas flow in case of a flameout or over-tilting of the heater.

This heater is 27.6 x 19.2 x 85.2 inches, weighs 22 pounds, and runs on propane.

Bromic Heating Portable Radiant Infrared Patio Heater

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Amazon Basics Outdoor Patio Heater

Best Value: With 46,000 BTUs of output, the Amazon Basics outdoor propane heater delivers value in terms of price and efficiency. The 46,000 BTUs can heat a 9-foot radius, which makes it practical for commercial restaurants and cafes with patios.

A piezo ignition system provides easy to use push-button function and it also has a safety auto shut-off tilt valve. You can move the heater around to different locations with the two heavy-duty wheels and secure it in place by filling up the water box to add more weight and stability.

This heater is 33 x 18 x 89 inches, weighs 35.9 pounds, and runs on propane.

Amazon Basics 46,000 BTU Outdoor Propane Patio Heater with Wheels

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Terra Hiker Commercial Gas Outdoor Heater

At 55,000 BTUs, the Terra Hiker commercial gas outdoor heater can heat an area of up to 322 sq. ft. A wide contact area allows this heater to provide complete combustion for higher heat output.

When it comes to fuel consumption, it only consumes 0.73 lb. of fuel per hour. This allows it to deliver up to 27 hours of heat on a 20 lb. container. The company says this is twice the burn time compared to other patio gas heaters in the market. The safety feature turns the unit off if it is tipped over.

This heater is 34 x 18 x 18 inches, weighs 20 pounds, and runs on propane.

Terra Hiker  Outdoor Commercial Gas Heater with Wheels


Dr Infrared Heater

With free-standing as well as wall and ceiling mounting options, this electric Dr Infrared Heater has three power settings at 900W, 1200W, and 1500W. It uses a high-level mirror aluminum reflector with 90% reflectivity to efficiently radiate the heat. And you can use the remote control to adjust the settings.

The heater is designed to work in moisture, condensation, and exposure to elements such as rain. And the safety feature has a dual tip-over system that is installed in the tripod and heater.

Made with durable and weatherproof anodized aluminum it comes in at 35 x 4 x 8 inches and weighs 15 pounds.

Dr Infrared Heater  Carbon Infrared Patio Heater with Tripod

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Bromic Heating Infrared Patio Heater

Another entry from Bromic Heating is this natural gas infrared patio heater made from brushed stainless steel and tinted ceramic glass. This design allows you to install the heater on walls and ceilings to provide up to 39,800 BTU per hour.

The five-burner heater can heat up to 200 square feet up to 16 feet away from the heater. And you can install multiple heaters and control them wirelessly. When it comes to outdoor performance, Bromic Heating says it has the highest wind rating in the industry at 12 MPH.

The heater is made from durable stainless-steel parts, and it measures 15.6 x 29.75 x 15 inches while weighing 40 pounds.

Bromic Heating  Smart-Heat Platinum Infrared Patio Heater

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DONYER POWER Ceiling Mounted Heater

The DONYER POWER ceiling heater offers a great alternative for open patios with ceilings. This overhead unit delivers 600W and 1500W of radiant heat with two halogen heating tubes. With IP24 certification, you can use this heater in wet and rainy environments.

You can connect anywhere with a standard 120-volt 60 Hz 12.5 amp wall outlet.

This heater is 16.54 x 16.54 x 9.84 inches and weighs just 4.19 pounds.

DONYER POWER 1500W Outdoor/Indoor Electric Patio Heater

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Qualities to Look for in Outdoor Heaters for Restaurants

The key to finding the best outdoor heaters for your restaurants is first to identify the size of the space you want to heat. Once you have this information you can start looking for the following options.

BTU or British Thermal Unit: is a measure of the heat content of an energy source or fuel. The higher the BTU number on a heater, the more heat it can produce. This means it can better raise the temperature in your room each hour resulting in faster heat times.
Material: Choose the material of your heater by considering the weather conditions of your location. Marine-grade stainless steel can withstand rain, snow, and even salt-water environments.
Wind Resistance: This specification measures how the heater warms a space when there is a breeze.
Coverage Area: While the specification will state a certain number, remember it is approximate. This is because the weather condition will affect this performance.
Safety: Whether you are buying a standalone unit or installing a wall or ceiling system, make sure to have all safety measures in place. This includes quick shut-off valves for gas or propane heaters as well as easily accessible breakers for electric heaters.
Anti-tilt: This feature automatically shuts off the heater if it tilts and falls over. Although it is available in all high-quality heather, make sure it is there.

Types of Fuels

Fuels give you different options when it comes to heating your space. If your patio doesn’t have powerful electric outlets, natural gas and propane are a great option. However, they also have their inconveniences.

Electricity: Using electricity to heat your outdoor restaurant space is convenient. You can install a heater and use it right away. The downside is electric heaters are not as powerful as natural gas or propane. Moreover, you have to have access to electricity to use them which is not always possible for outdoor spaces.

Natural Gas: Natural gas is a good solution for free-standing, permanent post, and ceiling/wall-mounted heaters. Heaters with natural gas are more powerful and you don’t have to worry about filling a tank. Initially, natural gas installations are usually more expensive but deliver value in the long run.

Propane: Just like natural gas, propane also delivers strong heat. The benefit of propane heaters is you can move them around to spot heat in different locations. On the other hand, you have to fill the propane tank regularly and it is more expensive.


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This article, “Outdoor Heaters for Restaurants: Our Top Picks” was first published on Small Business Trends